Nonprofit Organizations

While every nonprofit organization is unique, they all have certain shared legal needs and face many of the same issues.

In addition to navigating everyday business issues such as employment, intellectual property and contracts, they must comply with specific laws and issues related to being a nonprofit. In particular, the tax and compliance matters that nonprofits must adhere to can be a confusing maze for both large and small entities.

At Tonkon Torp, we understand that nonprofits have operational challenges similar to for profits, in addition to those unique to nonprofits. Our legal team is well-situated to provide a full array of legal services to nonprofit organizations and tax-exempt entities. We work with a diverse cross-section of industries and are proud of our long history of working with the region’s most respected private foundations, public charities, and other tax-exempt entities.

Our nonprofit attorneys represent:

  • Public charities
  • Private operating foundations
  • Pass-through foundations
  • Corporate and family foundations
  • Social welfare organizations
  • Social clubs
  • Trade and professional organizations
  • Fraternal organizations

Legal Services

Tonkon Torp creates individualized, multi-disciplinary teams to meet the unique needs of our nonprofit clients. Because we are a full-service business firm with nonprofit expertise, we are able to ensure that you have the comprehensive guidance and advice you need in the following areas:

  • Entity Formation – Selection of the appropriate structure, formation, and application to the IRS for recognition of exempt status
  • Governance – Board development, fiduciaries responsibilities, and risk management, including policy development (conflicts of interest, document retention)
  • Compliance – Private foundation special rules compliance, intermediate sanctions, lobbying, advocacy and political expenditures, and unrelated business income tax rules
  • Strategic Alliances – Joint ventures, mergers, and conversions
  • Grant-Making – Program-related investments, donor-advised funds, expenditure responsibility, and international grant-making
  • Fiscal Management – Investment and endowment management and distribution policies, structuring planned gifts, and planned giving programs
  • Employment – Advice/counsel employment matters; education, training, and proactive management practices; executive and employment contracts; employee benefits; executive compensation; volunteer issues
  • Audit – IRS and Department of Justice audits and approvals, including private letter ruling requests
  • Real Estate – Acquisition of real estate and office/equipment leases

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Services + Industries

Services + Industries



Bar Admission

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Of Counsel
Labor & Employment Paralegal
Of Counsel
3503, 3539, 3541, 3545, 3547, 3551
Immigration Paralegal

Tonkon Torp Helps Friends of the Children Actuate $33 Million Real Estate Gift

Tonkon Torp is proud to help Friends of the Children unwrap its transformative $33 million gift from philanthropists Gary and Christine Rood. The Roods, based in Vancouver, WA, presented Friends of the Children with a three-year gift in the form of five debt-free commercial properties that Friends of the Children will resell in phases.

Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Purchase Property for Community Cornerstone

Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group are celebrating a successful real estate purchase for pro bono client Albina Head Start (AHS). For more than 40 years, AHS has leased space at a former church building in NE Portland for its Tina Clegg Center. The Center, a community pillar for one of Portland’s historic communities of color, houses both a Head Start program serving 60 low-income families and AHS administrative offices that coordinate and provide services for numerous additional families.

Albina Head Start Turns on First Solar-Powered Building with Assist from Tonkon Torp

When Albina Head Start learned it was awarded a Blue Sky Fund grant to install a rooftop solar array on one of its buildings, it turned to its long-time pro bono legal partner, Tonkon Torp. The nonprofit organization knew that it would need legal guidance to ensure that it could meet the terms laid out in the grant’s detailed and binding Memo of Understanding.

Tonkon Torp Helps World of Speed Keep Rolling

Tonkon Torp is proud to serve as the general counsel of The World of Speed, a nonprofit organization that provides a space where the Oregon community can gather, learn and preserve the motorsports culture of the Northwest. Find details and more featured cases here.

Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Stabilize Finances for Enhanced Programming

Albina Head Start, Inc. (AHS), which serves more than 1,000 low-income children and their families in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, faces the future in a stronger financial position thanks to a significant pro bono effort by Tonkon Torp. Find details and more featured cases here.

Representative Matters

Motorspots Museum and Education Center

General counsel for World of Speed, a motorsports museum with an automotive vocational program, ensuring that the nonprofit is legally compliant with governance, compliance, third-party contracts, and intellectual property.

Agreement with Portland Community College

Negotiated and documented a unique agreement with Portland Community College to provide on-campus Head Start Program.

Services + Industries

Services + Industries

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We encourage you to contact us if you have further questions about our firm or our experience. For your protection, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, please do not send us any confidential or secret information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an engagement letter).

If after browsing this web site you are unsure which lawyer you should contact, please call us at 503.221.1440.